This is one of those posts which I have written without thinking really, because I have been encouraged to write for myself, and no other audience. I’m just blethering, like you would talk to someone in a nursing home or a coma. I don’t think any of my readership or one or t’other, but it would be interesting to know if you are.
During yoga, we are asked to find in our minds a quiet place where we feel safe. I close my eyes and remember lying in my garden on a very hot day, next to my dog. The grass is freshly mown, prickly and pungent. Miggy feels and smells hot, the way she smells only when she’s in the sun. She is panting, her breath regular and heavy, faster than mine.
I liked to imagine that Miggy was my sister, telling myself we looked like twins as we both had brown eyes and blonde-ish hair (mine was the colour of dirty washing-up water, hers was ginger). I put my cheek to her ribcage and my nose in her fur, and try to match my breathing to hers. Which makes me feel a bit light-headed.
The Thirteenth Tale is about twins (see what I did there?!). It’s quite extraordinary really because it’s very poetic for a novel, and it was Diane Setterfield’s debut. I couldn’t quite believe that when I read the book notes because it’s so assured. I give it my highest accolade – I will give it as a gift to others, and I’ll get the rest of her stuff out of the library.
After that I tried The Secret Hunters by Ranulph Fiennes, which was recommended to me bv a friend. It was based on a diary which Fiennes found in a cabin during one of his expeditions to the Arctic/Antarctic (I always get mixed up between the two – but it’s cold wherever it is, mkay?) and I’ve been excited to get my hands on it, but I can’t read anymore as yet because it made me burst into tears, which surprised me as I was in rather a positive mood. It’s the story of a man who discovers his family were butchered during the Holocaust, and he sets about to revenge their deaths. I can’t digest real life horror the way I used to; I have become more sensitive to it – because it all happened, and the cruelty and brutality that people like you or I are capable of is terrifying. I had to read a bit of Jeeves & Wooster (the one where he tries to convince Anatole the chef to defect) to recover.
I’ll pick up The Secret Hunters when I feel stronger; when I have reminded myself that for all its dreadful history, mankind also has a lot of good in it.
Random Thoughts Which Came To Me In The Bath/ Washing Up/ Chopping Onions/ Cleaning Out The Gerbils / Epilating
Is there any better feeling in the world than the buzz and terror and exhilaration of performing and then the audience applauding? I’ve got tears running down my face watching Torvill & Dean perform Bolero, and my skin is prickled all over like I’m a hedgehog turned inside-out. I last heard that sound when I was 17. It’d be nice to hear it again before I die.
This week I got a bottle of For Her, a perfume I haven’t worn in some time. I had spent about a year trying to find on to replace it with and decided I liked it too much to replace it with anythign else. It arrived on Friday. I sprayed it on my wrist and sniffed and I was in my 20s again; out on the town in a skirt too short for my own good; I was young and sexy and skinny(ish) if not happy. I want to wear it again now I’m none of the first three, but finally, perhaps, the fourth … I wonder if the latter has anything in common with the former…
People I would like to be like this week:
– Ayrton Senna. He had real drive (to pardon the pun), and achieved what he wanted to do. I can still remember watching the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix when he died and feeling sad all day even though I wasn’t convinced that “brain death” meant you weren’t ever going to wake up. We used to watch the Grand Prix while eating our Sunday lunch (we are probably as a family to blame for the decline of the family meal) and I don’t think any of us took another mouthful after that crash.
– Nelson Mandela. Because he was such a decent person when he could have been a real knob, and totally understandably so. Considering I feel ike eviscerating drivers who don’t signal/people who don’t hold the door open behind them/those who jump on the tube without waiting for others to get off, I can’t imagine I’d be any sort of peace-maker after 27 years in jail. I keep meaning to try, and then something happens and I lose my temper again. I ought to work harder at being a nicer person, but I’d rather do that without going to jail.